Category : general


Sometimes a little change is a good thing. During the floods last year I took a life changing decision that has now led me to where I am now. There is anxiety in my mind along with a truck load of unanswered questions. The coming months, am sure, will unravel all those mysteries that I am seeking to solve.

We are attempting something new here in Woodooz. Something we have always wanted to, but never took that needed first step. Today, we are slowing inching forward in that direction and I shall talk and reveal more, in the coming days, about our future plans for Woodooz. We are excited and hope we do well in what we are trying to accomplish. And all that needs your support. 

As someone said, with change comes a new logo. And I want to use the opportunity to unveil the brand new Woodooz logo. The (near) future plan is somewhere hidden in the logo. For now I can tell you the brown signifies wood, and that orange represents vibrancy and a glowing brightness. Maybe it is even symbolic of a dawn that marks the beginning of a new day.

As we embark on this new journey, we want you to know that this can never take off without your continued support. So, wish us good luck as I start working on my next post that talks a little bit more about what we have in store at Woodooz.




P.S. This should explain the long gap with no posts and videos. I will be coming back to them very soon.


So, are we going to do the next Serving Tray workshop ? Yeah we are and I will put up the details. Meanwhile, I wanted to share some details about the first workshop that we recently announced and conducted on the 24th of Jan, 2016. I am still kicking myself for not having someone capture photos and videos of the session. All I could manage was some poorly captured photos in between the workshop.

Here’s what we did at the workshop.

Each participant was given a DIY hand tool kit to take back home. The kit had hand tools for cutting, screw drivers, few other basic items  and an instructional manual to help them retain what they learn in the workshop.


The were also provided with the materials required for making the project. The material was cut just enough for the participants to experience the process without having to spend much time. They were also giving additional tools and safety goggles for using during the workshop.


The session started with introductions and we went on straight into cutting the plywood plank. Somewhere in between we also took a breather to have a demo on few power tools. One of the participants also volunteered to try her hands at the tool. For me it was an enriching experience meeting up with like minded folks. This was also my first workshop and so it gave me lot of ammunition to make things better the next time.

The biggest plus for me was to catch up with people which I have never done in the 6 years of my Woodooz journey. And that really gave me the kicks. Some felt that they would like it if there was a morning and an afternoon session. Few recommended topics like center tables, doors, finishing to be covered in future workshops.


I am already planning to have the second workshop. Just working on the logistics. Watch out this space for the announcement soon.


It is a new year and I wanted to start the year with a positive note with the Wodooz resolution for 2016. Over the last few years, I have received queries on the DIY posts requesting me to explain few things in detail. Either the photos posted were not helping or the post itself was lacking in some information. I have felt the inadequacy myself at times when I am reading something for inspiration. And more often than not, videos come to the rescue. We also realized it late when we saw my Golu Padi video reach more than 10K views.

Videos are fun to watch and help to easily understand the DIY procedures involved. And so this year, I have taking it upon myself to make more DIY videos to go along with the blog posts we make here. That means step by step instructions on how I build the things here. And that is my top resolution for 2016.

In the last 30 days, I have made 5 videos and that by my standards is a very good thing. And I intend to keep the good thing going on. And I need you to subscribe to TheWoodooz YouTube channel (Https://www.youtube.com/TheWoodooz) just so you are informed whenever there is a new video published. Not all videos might translate into a blog post and so a subscription will ensure I would be able to reach you as soon as a video is published.

So , go on, SUBSCRIBE now. This could be your New Year gift to us.

I made a short video talking about what we do in Woodooz and also about our goal for 2016. Do check it out. You can either click on the SUBSCRIBE link you see on the right bottom of the video or click the image further below to go to the subscription page.



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Click on the image to subscribe

I also have an important announcement to make in YouTube in the next two days. Something I have not tried before, something I have been receiving requests for and something I am so looking forward to. Please do join us and remember to leave your feedback as a comment.


Some quick input on the highlights in Woodooz in 2015 before we get into the vacation mode :
And before we leave you with some insights on our short vacation,

allow us to wish you a happy, wonderful and a prosperous 2016.

Exploring South Goa

The moment one mentions travelling to Goa, the immediate thought that comes to everyone’s minds is the happening beaches. I would defer and say Goa is much more than just beaches and parties. The true beauty of Goa lies in its exclusive architecture. While I think we made good use of our two days in South Goa, here's a little something about the few places we visited.

On our way from the airport to the resort, I had a feeling we were driving on one of those roads in Kerala or Sri Lanka- Coconut trees on either sides of the road, thatched roof houses, greenery, the churches, birds and the flowers… We decided to spend less time at the beach and explore the historically prominent places in the city. Just to give a gist of the Goan history- Goa has played an influential role in the Indian history as it was one of the major trade centers in India. Due to the Portuguese rule from the 15’th century until almost mid 19’th century, the Goan architecture has heavy Portuguese influence. It also has flavors of Hindu and Muslim architecture given the fact that it was ruled by Hindu and Mughal emperors at different points in time in Indian history.

The Shanta Durga and Mangueshi temples have a fusion of Indo- Portuguese architecture. Both the temples feature pyramid shaped dome rising on the roofs of the entrance hall and the ‘sabhamandap’ or the main hall. This, I believe would have been due to the Mughal touch.



 The temples have a ‘tulasi madam’ in the courtyard, a lamp tower/ ‘deepa stambha’ and a water tank/ ‘theppakkulam’ that are typical of a Hindu architecture. 


The temples have high ceiling, curvilinear roofs that are very Portuguese, several pilasters and balustrades, Roman- arched windows with stained- glass window panes of red, yellow, blue, green colors.


While we were still awed by the elegance of these temples, we were taken to the Basilica of Bom Jesus church, a UNESCO world heritage site in Old Goa. The building is an architectural finesse. It is considered to be one of the best examples of Baroque/ Italian architecture in India.

The church is made of laterite and the front wall is molded with basalt casing giving it an impressive rustic look. The interiors have marble flooring, beautifully gilded altars with inlay work. On the Southern side is a chapel that has floral decoration in wood, where the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier are kept.


 This is probably just 20% of what is actually there in Old Goa. We wanted to visit the city market, couple of beaches, and a fort. But we ran short of time. We are definitely going back to explore rest of it.  While DIY has been the focus here, we are also getting lured into ancient architecture, design and décor in that is for now the by product of all that we are doing here. So do expect sprouts of these posts amid our DIYs too.  Please do pour in your thoughts, suggestions on potential places to explore, interesting designs etc.


I have to accept. 2014 was not a great year for Woodooz in terms of the number of posts and projects. Compared to the previous year, the count is paltry – A mere 18. Not even two posts a month and the blog has been dormant, if not dead, for the last 3 months.  And this is making many ask me, “Are you done with it? Have you lost interest? Is this not a sustainable hobby? “.

A 2014 project - Side Table
Before I answer that question, I wanted to look back at 2014. Despite few posts, we had some interesting things happening at Woodooz:
  • First was the coverage in Smartlife Magazine. This gave us a big motivational boost.
  • Second was my visit to the Bosch DIY Square in Bangalore. Woodworking is fun and to experience it in a proper studio kind of environment was very exciting for me.
  • Third was meeting up with a fellow woodworker. It was an evening well spent talking about not just carpentry, but also about life in general.
  • And lastly, a lovely vacation to end the year. To be lazy and do absolutely nothing was the objective of the holiday and Kumarakom ended up being the perfect destination for it.
 At the banks of Kumarakom Vembanad lake
All good things ? Yet there was a dearth of posts. Why ? Have I lost interest ? Has the passion died ?

The truth is, there have been too many activities in the last 3 months that have been taking my attention. Activities that I have started to enjoy and pursue as parallel hobbies that I ended up giving very little time to Woodworking.

Cricket

To start with, I have taken to Cricket every Saturday morning. Not the professional sport types, but the tennis ball kinds that you play with friends. This I took up to introduce physical activity into my schedule to stay more fit and active. Much like every Indian, I love playing Cricket and now this takes up good 4 hours of my every Saturday.

Lots of action in the cricket ground

Photography

We recently bought a DSLR with absolutely no knowledge on using one. The prime reason was to start taking better pictures of our Woodooz projects. But then, what happened ? As I started exploring the camera and the basics around using it, I was involuntarily drawn into photography. A sudden surge that prompted me to go click click and click. The result – I have been spending way too much time in getting my techniques right. I love this so much that we have even started going bird watching to explore photography more.

Butterfly - Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary
Row of Park Benches
Spot Billed Pelican - At Pallikarnai Marsh Land

Reading

And finally reading. A collection of books that is supposedly epic novels written in my native language Tamil. I started reading the first in the series and realized how much I have been giving my mother tongue a step motherly treatment. These books written by Kalki Krishnamurthy are beautifully written novels that use fiction around real historical characters and events. What this did was not only unearth my interest in my language, but also in history. These books about the pallavas, and cholas are among the best that I have read in a long long time. And so, you can imagine. I still have another 5 parts to complete and I intend to be glued onto them.

Kalki's Ponniyin Selva collection
All said, what happens to Woodworking ? Had a little positive distraction in 2014 that made us give divided attention to Woodooz. However, we are resolute now to find all possible excuses to create newer projects that will keep us and Woodooz engaged throughout 2015. Which in turn only translates into providing you with quality updates, how tos, FAQs and other project updates at frequent intervals.

On that positive and forward looking note, we want to wrap up our 2014. We don't know what is in store for us in 2015. But the year that went by has certainly been enjoyable and exciting.

Wish you and your family a Happy and Prosperous New Year.


DIY in India is certainly a concept that is catching up. While there are individuals in pockets already indulging in Do It Youself, the idea by itself cannot gain widespread awareness unless there is more focus, attention and thrust coming from the industry at large. Bosch, India, is now getting to broaden that interest through its Home and DIY power tools and its DIY experience center, The DIY square.

Home and garden tools
Home and DIY Power Tools stall
I recently had the good fortune of interacting with Mr. Vijay Pandey, Vice President of Bosch power tools, India, at their facility in the Garden City. The event was organized for folks from the media to break Bosch’s image of being a predominantly Automotive focused organization and was aimed at introducing the audience to the other streams of business lines that it was already flourishing in - DIY, Home and Garden power tools being one of them.

VP, Bosch Power Tools
Mr.Vijay Pandey at the Bosch Brand DIY Square
Here’s couple of interesting things that came out straight from the horse’s mouth.

He said,
“Bosch provides the joy and first hand experience of DIY by allowing interested hobbyists to unleash their creativity at the Bosch brand store and DIY Square – An experience center that provides tools, assistance and all the needed guidance to overcome the hesitation of using power tools. The use of DIY Square is completely free (unless there is considerable amount of materials used) and there is absolutely no sales pressure. Walk in. Walk out. And have fun in between.”
When asked about the target market,
“We are not trying to replace the carpenters, nor are we trying to convince every individual to DIY. There is a certain section that knows DIY is cool and the outcome of DIY is worth showing off. We want to target that section by providing them with a platform to learn and the right tools to experiment and experience DIY”
DIY Stall
Tools demonstration at the venue - Got to hold and try the tools
It was also interesting to note that the tools are very easily available through Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and other E-commerce portals. Bangalore is lucky in one sense that this whole revolution is starting with the city. We had a tour of the DIY Square (And that is a separate post by itself) and I spent the most time there laying my hands on the tools and watching others get a grip of it too. Friendly staff eager to see us brim with joy was an added bonus. Try it and if you like, buy it is an idea I wish existed here in Chennai too. 

DIY tools
Bosch tools on display
DIY tool kit
Bosch Home Smart Kit 
The whole event left me with a sense of pride. I walked out with the resolution to up my ante. DIY is cool and I hope to continue enjoying the benefits that it has to offer. And it is indeed nice that Bosch is doing its bit to popularize the DIY culture in the Indian sub-continent. That said, what is your take ? Do you think there is growing enthusiasm to embrace this culture ? Share your thoughts as a comment.

Disclaimer : My entire visit was sponsored by the event organizers. However, I was not asked or influenced in anyway to write this post. My opinion here is voluntarily written and is completely mine.


When I started my first DIY project, I looked at videos and tutorials, and started picking up basic skills. And this experience made me believe every art and craft can be learnt and mastered through Google and Youtube. Carving on wood is something I have been fascinated about and is one such skill, I thought, I can master by merely reading up and practicing. As a first step towards achieving this expertise, I BLINDLY bought a whole set of carving tools.
Wood Carving tools
Wood Carving Tools
My recent visit to a wood carving factory in Kandy, Sri Lanka came as quite a revelation to me. Much unlike the other sight-seeing locales, I took special interest in this item in our itinerary.  The one hour made me realize that few proficiencies are not so easy to acquire unless some portion of it is already innate in us. 
Carving
Carved Figurines
There is so much that goes into a craft that probably is not entirely documented. And the amount of knowledge these craftsmen hold is absolutely amazing. The years and years of practice leading to perfection was so evident in the precision with which they etched every intricate feature. They were making a larger-than-life-size figurine out of a single log and naturally that made me wonder what if they make a mistake. To my amazement, one of them retorted with oozing confidence, “We don’t make mistakes”.
Carving on wood
Craftsman at work
I had a chance to briefly work on one of the statues that was in the making, and it was surely not as easy as I originally  thought (Not that I thought it is any child's game anyway) it would be.  I only wanted to learn carving to be able to make small name boards for the home. And this experience brought a new found respect towards every individual involved in some craft or the other, however big or small it might be. While everything may seem so easy from a distance, I realized,  there is absolutely no short cut towards conquering an art form. 
Somu with wood carving tools
My failed attempt at carving
For now, I am giving up my idea of getting to do any sort of carving. For someone who cannot get a 2D figure right on paper, 3D art is going to remain a challenge. Even if I were to undergo any formal training, I doubt if any carving spark is innate in me. There is a reason why some folks are considered gifted, and this inborn talent is just about one of them. Do you agree with me ? Leave your thoughts.

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Woodooz Home Decors,
3/371, First floor,
Metukuppam, Thoraipakkam,
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